by Josh Dolin

Every week I write about something I don’t understand in the world of dating. But if there is one thing in the world that I do understand, it’s shopping.

And if dating is like shopping, then my husband is J. Crew. On a recent trip to the Uptown store with Collette, I realized that maybe dating and shopping aren’t so different.

When I go shopping, I immediately fall in love with the newest items on the mannequins. They catch my eye, they look beautiful and everyone wants them.

The newest season of clothes is the same as a dream man. He is perfect, you immediately want him and, unfortunately, so does everyone else. That’s why new clothes are expensive, and hot men are hard to get.

But I will let you in on a secret — I frequently shop in the sale section at my favorite stores. Why? Because the items are just as good, easier to get and no one will ever know.

“Some of the clothes I buy on sale, end up being my favorite outfits,” Collette said.

“Plus if you go for the hot new item, chances are your going to see someone else wearing it,” Aurora added.

And I agree with them. Sometimes I buy the short-sleeve popover in vintage oxford for an obscene amount of money, and then find a denim chambray shirt 30 percent off and discover that I look better in it. So is it possible that the same philosophy can be applied to dating?

“He is really weird,” Ashley said to me last week as we left the SUB.

She was talking about Cody. Cody is a very attractive dance student who came up to my table, talked to me and then asked for my number. I know, I was shocked too.

“Yeah, but he’s really cute,” I said. “And there is something kind of attractive about how different he is.”

He is a unique person, and there is definitely no one else out there like him. The same is true about clothes. Finding unique clothes that match your personality and style can be hard to find.

Cody invited me to go hiking with him this coming weekend.

“So when are you going to tell him that you hate the wilderness?” Maggie asked.

“That’s a minor detail,” I said. “I need to see where this goes with him before he finds out how crazy I am.”

A first date is the chance to essentially ‘try on’ a relationship. Does it feel comfortable, do you like how you look with them, are they the right fit?

And if it doesn’t work out, you can always return them, which is exactly what Ashley did with Eric three weeks ago after he gave her the ultimatum: blowjob or GTFO.

“Well Eric texted me on Saturday,” Ashley said a few days ago. “And you know one thing led to another and then I woke up at his house on Sunday morning.”

“Oh my God. The blowjob guy? Seriously?” I said.

“Well he said that he is now looking for a relationship,” she continued. “And he hasn’t been with anybody since me so I’m just seeing where it goes again.”

Have you ever been shopping with a friend when they asked your opinion on how they looked in an outfit, and you had to lie? You know that they should never go out in public wearing it, but you don’t know how to tell them? That is exactly what it’s like when your friend is making a mistake with their relationships.

Unfortunately, some stores do not accept returns after a certain point and you are stuck with your mistake of a purchase. This is exactly what it’s like when you have a bad relationship for a significant amount of time.

In her time at UNM, Maggie has never been able to find an “outfit” that worked.

“I think it’s because most of the ‘dream outfit’ guys end up being douche bags,” Maggie said.

So if you have been unable to make a relationship work, here is my advice for you: don’t shop for the dream outfit anymore.

If you stop going after the couture guys on campus, and start taking a chance on the ones hidden behind the sale sign, you would be surprised how much you end up liking them.

Every morning when I look at my closet and choose an outfit I think of all the clothes I own, and why I like each of them. Some were from great shopping trips, some make my eyes pop and some are brand new. They’re all special and make me happy, but every week when I do laundry I realize that most of the clothes that I actually wear are sale items.

Those clothes were not what I went in J. Crew looking for, but they surprised me. They are comfortable, exactly my style and, most importantly, I look amazing in them.

I am really happy with Cody right now. When I least expected it, he came to me and asked me out. He is different, and I like that. No one else has someone like him and so far I really like being with him.

If the world of dating is like a shopping mall, then I would be a polygamist. I love the adventure, thrill and excitement of buying clothes, and similarly I love dating boys. Some of them are winners and some never leave the dressing room. So is this the secret to dating? All this time we knew the answer as we were working through the sale rack, we just never knew it applied to men? This week look through your closet and decide — are you in love with the most expensive outfit you own, or are you happier with a #BargainBoy?

Current Relationship Statuses:
Josh: Hiking with Cody
Ashley: Sleepovers with Eric again
Alice: Visiting Bill
Collette: Ignoring a clingy boy
Aurora: Yet another secret lover at Whole Foods
Maggie: Always shops the sale section

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